Reductions of the Gospel

To be a gospel-centered church, we must understand the gospel, experience the gospel, and live the gospel. Last Sunday we sought to deepen our understanding of the gospel by contrasting the full biblical gospel (saved and sent, by God and for His glory – 1 Peter 2:9) with two common reductions of the gospel (being saved and being sent). Each of these reduces the gospel to something less than it is; each is true, yet incomplete.

The table below might help illuminate the differences more fully.

Nature of Sin Internal/Personal External/Social Idolatry (Personal AND Cultural)
Salvation Saved from Guilt Saved from Selfishness Saved from Self-Worship, to live for God’s glory
Jesus Gets me to heaven Shows me how to live Is the source of my life and the object of my worship
Mission Get People Saved Get People Active Live for the glory of God


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  1. In a book I’m reading for a history class, I came across a quote by a 19th century preacher named D.R. Hundley. He said:

    “The true and only mission of Christianity is, not to abolish institutions or set up dynasties, but to make every individual man, whether bond or free, rich or poor, high or low, a new creature in Christ Jesus.”

    That all sounds well and good, until you read more and find out that Hundley was an ardent defender of slavery, and that he made those remarks in response to Christian abolitionists. The way that many southern Christians defended slavery on the grounds that “what’s really important is getting people saved” is the quintessential example of why it’s harmful to have a reductionist view of the gospel.

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